Thursday, June 30, 2011

Shag Thomas

James "Shag" Thomas was a talented grappler, who came on the scene in a time where wrestling was predominately segregated, both int he south and in the north.

"Let me see," he used to answer when asked about his wrestling schedule and opponents. "Tomorrow I fight Luther Lindsy. The night after I fight Luther Lindsy....the night after that...Luther Lindsy."

Thus the already established feud with Lindsy carried over it no Arizona in the 1950s, with both men arriving at the same time. They started to feud with each other in the Phoenix area, when to their surprise they learned this neck of the woods was far less uptight when it came to inter-racial wrestling. Both were matched not only against each other, but a number of white and Hispanic opponents.

Thomas ended up squaring off with Don Arnold, who was at the time the undisputed top draw in Arizona and has already cropped up in many other blogs. Though a fan favorite in most other areas, Arnold was a villain of the worst order in Arizona, flexing his ample muscles and spouting off mufti-word sentences about how he was intellectually, as well as physically superior to alt those around him.

Thomas had some pretty hectic matches with Arnold, though his wicked white opponent usually pulled some dirty trick in order to win.

Though Thomas had a successful Arizona run, his fame rested elsewhere. He traveled the USA, where he held a number of single and tag team titles. He ultimately retired to Oregon.

He died from a heart attack in Portland in 1982.

The Percy Palmer Recreation Hall

For several years, The Percy Palmer Recreation Hall in Casa Grande held wrestling, most notably in the early 1970s. I have no idea  if the building is still there or not.

Various wrestlers appearing there included The Von Steigers, Cornelio "Tony" Hernandez, The Avengers, Randy Tyler, Johnny Mann, Jimmy Valentine, Bill Williams, Apache Joe, Al Madril, Jody Arnold, Bobby Mayne (Jaggers), Donny Anderson, Mitri-The Arabian Assassin, Henry Pulusso, Sal Dominguez, Tony Barbetta (in a rare fan favorite role), Johnny Kostas, Apache Gringo, Edmundo Manuel and Spike Jones.

Women booked in thsi arena included Sandy Parker, Bambi Ball, Marilyn Bender and Peggy Conners.

There were also appearances by Samson who was a trained bear.

There were predictably the blood feuds, but two of the main ones were Chuck Karbo vs Eddie Lopez and Chris Colt vs Tito Montez. These pair-ups carried over from several years of earlier booking. One of the angles was Lopez housing ill feelings and a desire for revenge from when Chuck Karbo mauled him on a television taping in Phoenix way back in 1968. The Colt vs Montez feud sprang from the previous run in Arizona with Montez and a multitude of partners taking on Colt (previously known as Paul Dupree) and his "brother Ron as The Comancheros.

The Montez vs Colt confrontations were constant brawls rather than wrestling matches, with one or both men bleeding. Colt made it a point to use every dirty trick in the book and then some, as he pursued new means of villainous behavior. He was constantly pulling illegal objects such as brass knuckles, bits of chain, pencils, spoons and at one point a wet bar of soap, to put into play against his beloved Mexican opponent,.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Help JT Lightning

JT Lightning never appeared in Arizona as far as I know, though I seem to think he made some queries about the Tucson and Los Angeles area early in his career. Sadly, it does not look like he will ever perform in the area now. In April of last year, the Ohio scene was stunned when this wretsler and promoter for Cleveland All Pro Wrestling announced he had throat cancer that was spreading.

Many figured he had from  weeks to months at best to live, but he has fought back with a determination  second to no one. Chemo, radiation, radical treatments, you name it....he has faced it. Win, lose or draw, no one will ever forget the fight he continues to show and has shown, proving no one needs lay down and die.

He is, at this time, very sick and very short of funds. Even with health insurance, which as most people know will not cover everything, he has had a nightmare of a time. His life  has been turned to crap by this set of disasters, with a wife and children to  support. .In recent months he has sold his wrestling ring and a number of collectibles to stay afloat.

If you would like to help him out, his email and Pay Pal may be found at

Monday, June 27, 2011

Brother Jonathan & Brother Frank

Brother Frank & Brother Jonathan were interesting individuals who toured the USA as a Mormon tag team. How the church felt about his would be anyone's guess I suppose, but "gentiles" hated them with a passion.

Both as a tag team and as singles, they made it to Arizona and as usual, provoked the crowd to a riot pitch. The Phoenix Madison Square Garden was one area where they chose to spread their particular brand of mayhem. Brother Frank, more than Brother Jonathan, took bookings at this stadium and helped pack it to its 2,000 plus capacity.

Both of these individuals have since passed away, quite a while ago.

Brother Jonathan was the father of wrestling's Mormon Giant, the legendary Don Leo Jonathan, who was a mian eventer around the world in the 1960s and 1970s, most memorably known perhaps for his bloody feud with then WWWF (later this promotion became WWF and of course WWE) World champion, Pedro Morales. Though Don Leo Jonathan failed to win the belt from the titleholder, the matches these two had were considered epic confrontations still remembered by those who saw them or read about them in the magazines.

Brother Frank also wrestled as Frank Jares and for a time under a mask as The Thing. His son would later write a controversial book on wrestling titled Whatever Happened To Gorgeous George.

Jares may also be seen in thsi one Dead End Kids movie dealing with wrestling, though for the life of me I cannot recall the title.

In any case, Brother Frank & Brother Jonathan left a mark on the world of wrestling in general and in Arizona as well.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Ed Blair

Ed Blair drifted into Arizona from Nebraska in 1977 and spent a couple years wrestling or the varied promotions there. He became a regular on the cards at the Phoenix Madison Square Garden, but was usually seen in the undercard.

Blair had a brief feud with Maniac Mike Gordon, as well as matches with the Lumberjacks and others in Phoenix, while doing spot shows in other Arizona towns.

One of Blair's most impressive moments came in a 1978 battle royal in which 20 men took part. Though Masked Frankenstein won the thing, Blair was one of the last left in, which surprised everyone,. He ended up bloodied and evicted by the man in the monster mask, but left a lasting impression on fans who thought he would be one of the first men out.

Blair continued to wretsling in Arizona until 1981, when he called it quits and eventually moved away. A stroke took his life a few years ago.

While Blair was considered a dependable hand, he was someone dry in style and almost too technical for the Arizona crowd that wanted blood and brawls. Sensing this, the promoters booked him, but seldom placed him in the main events. Sadly, he was never to show what he was made of or how far he might have gone if given the opportunity.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The NFL 1&2

Football players turned wrestlers have been a repetitive thing in wrestling. Charlie Cook, Ernie Ladd, Bob Lueck, Ron Pritchard, Mongo McMichaels, Walter Johnson and on and on.....

The wisdom of a football tag team in Mexico where they consider soccer to be "football" would be questionable.

Perhaps that is why the masked pair calling themselves NFL 1&2 did not do so well. The routine worked alright whenever they crossed the border into the USA, but in their native land they failed to generate any excitement.

It wasn't the first time a "football schtick" was used in Mexico. Long before them, there was a masked man named Super Maquina who did the role, with helmet, shoulder pads and the like. Super Maquina lasted, but the NFL did not.

No idea who they were under the hoods, but it seems logical they revamped their routine into something  different and went on to bigger things by wrestling under new names.

As far as styles went, they were fast-moving for bigger men and could do the fancy lucha moves with ease. This was because they wore the shoulder pads outside their gear and the football helmets into the ring, but removed them before wrestling, to wear standard tights and masks. Once in a great while, the helmets came into play illegally to help win a match.

The  pair made convincing heels, with an ability to work up the crowd. Frankly, the two men were better  than their chosen NFL facade. Reasoner to believe they took off the masks, put on different ones and continued, leaving NFL 1&2 behind.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Monster Nation

Long before the WWF had The Oddities, Arizona had a freak show of its own that was amazingly over  with the crowd, known as Monster Nation.

From their Tucson base, Ron "Section 9" Sutherland was the leader of the group,. For those who never saw him. he might best be described as lookign like a shorter Jim The Anvil, minus the beard and with several tattoos.

The Vindicator was thrown on to the team. A taller man with even more tattoos. In spite of his bizarre appearance that made him look like sometime from the cast of Beyond Thunderdome, I heard he was some type of computer tech in real life. Go figure. 

With the obligatory addition of a female, enter one Kathy Powers, better known as a Tucson radio personality, into the fray.

They might not have been the greatest of the great, but they certainly were the oddest of the oddest. And they looked menacing enough.

For a time, they remained a talking point among Tucson fans, but the tattooed rat pack eventually dissolved. The girl wanted to place more emphasis on her radio career, Vindicator on his other business and Section 8 eventually left Tucson for Washington.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Benjamin Leatherman

Arizona has produced a  number of decent wrestlers, as some of the blogs show. While the state never seemed to get the press it deserved, there were some decent writers from the area as well.

Tommy Kaye lived in Scottsdale and produced a number of wrestling magazines in the early 1970s from his Jalert House publishing Company, which covered the Arizona area at length.

There was a guy I dimly remember named Lance Parker who wrote for programs, fan sheets and an occasional newspaper article.

Modestly, there was me! And still is!

We had Billy Graham interestingly enough, enter the writing field with his biography, Tangled Ropes, which was pretty damned good and his stage play, The Empty Ring, which to me was pretty damned sappy in retrospect.

Enter Benjamin Leatherman .

The name sounds like something Barry Bernsten oudl have saddled someone with in 1981 or so.

From his Phoenix base, Leatherman has cranked out considerable newspaper work for the New Times and other publishing venues.

Some months ago, he did a big New Times feature on the lucha libre promotions presently running in Phoenix and the history of Hispanic wrestlers in the area, going back to the days of Gory Guerrero.

I hope he can keep it going.

Since I now live in Ohio and write about Arizona wrestling from afar, someone closer to the current action needs to keep the trend going.

Carry on, Leatherman.


The AWF of Steve Gator Wolf ran for many years with a home base along the Indian reservations of Northern Arizona. Towns like Tuba City, Window Rock and Chinle were regualr stops for him, while he made it into Utah, Colorado and New Mexico as well. He also ran occasional spot shows in other parts of Arizona such a Globe, Mesa and Flagstaff.

Gator Wolf main-evented many of his cards, while utilizing some of his own students and established Indies from Arizona or California.

The late Louie Spicolli was a familiar face for the AWF, both as himself and under a number of hoods, with varied names. He did The Zodiac for a while, as did others on the card, with the mask being passed around a la The Black Scorpion in WCW.

Others who appeared for the AWF at varied times were The Navajo Kid (Navajo Warrior), The Black Mamba, the Mercenaries, Bison Smith, The Apache Princess, Star Man, Stephen De Leon  and The Iraqi Assassin.

De Leon would later meet a tragic end in California when he died in a violent motorcycle crash.

Spicolli would also pass away tragically, as most wrestling fans know.

Another Phoenix-based wrestler who really developed and became a top draw in the AWF was J.T,. Law, a red-neck cowboy type who started as a fan favorite and was horribly mis-typecast in Phoenix. Via Gator Wold, he became a villainous "white heel" to oppose the Native Americans on the reservation land. As such he was lucky to leave many shows alive, but nonetheless vibrated heat few heels could match.

Before retirement, Law made it to both Canada and Mexico to wrestle.

On the same hand, The Border Patrol, made up of Mike Shultz and Steve Dezire, drew well for the AWF. The heat they produced was instantaneous and many times fans had to be restrained or evicted from the building when they tried to attack this pair.

On one special occasion, the AWF even brought in Paul E Dangerously as a manager.

Other who appeared on the AWF cards at one time or another included Tim Tall Tree, Rikki Ataki, Bull Zambrano, Lance Farraro, Miss Vicious, Doink (whoever was doing the routine) and many more.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Ernie Ladd

Ernie Ladd, the former football star for Kansas City, became an instant hit in pro wretsling. Though he was cheered and could do no wrong in the Ohio area, he was hated every place else he went. Using a suspiciously taped thumb that was forever "healing" to jab into his oppoennt;s throat and wearing a crown to proclaim himself King Of Wrestling long before the WWF started official coronations, he became one of the sports; most detested men.

This is where things get odd.

In spite of successful runs at the Olympic Arena and other California venues, Ladd never came to the Phoenix area to wrestle, as far as my records show. I could be wrong, but nothing seems to pop up.

As far as I can tell, Ladd never showed up in Arizona until after his retirement. The first account of him in the area as far as I know, has him attending a Christian convention for various athletes in 1996 or so.

He was also back in Arizona as a WWF road agent who worked behind the scenes for various shows, which to me seems ironic. As big a star as he was in California and the world, he never started showing up in the Arizona area until after he was done as an active wrestler.

It just seems ironic.

One of Ladd's last hurrah's in the public eye as a whole came when he played himself on a wrestling episode of That 70s Show.

A few years later, he would lose the toughest battle of his life, when he succumbed to cancer.

Bobo Brazil

Aside from his time spent with carnival circuits early in his career, Bobo Brazil's name first started cropping up in the Arizona/California area in the early 1950s, Yuma, Tucson, Casa Grande and Phoenix were some of the places where he appeared. using a head butt he would later title the "Coco Butt" and working the crowd up like  no other, he became an instant hit.

For a while, this gigantic black grappler held what was called the "Negro World Championship" which I assume was equivalent to the old Negro Leagues in baseball. Throughout many parts of the USA, integrated wrestling was not allowed and this is not exclusive to the Deep South. Arizona, in fact, was one of the first areas to allow   interracial contact in the ring. Brazil was one of the pioneers, along with Bearcat Wright.

Brazil made various defenses of his title in Arizona, including shows at the Phoenix Madison Square Garden. On one occurrence where no African American opponent was to be found, a young Peter Maivia (I believe he was from Hawaii or one of the other Polynesian Islands. As I am in mid-blog I do not have time to look now) was told to "pass as a negro" and go into the ring against Brazil for the belt. Brazil won that exchange by pin.

When Bobo returned to Arizona in the early 1970s, wrestling was a whole different ball game. Attitudes had changed and no one thought twice of his facing white opponents. And he was as popular as ever.

During this final Arizona stay, Brazil feuded with his archenemy, The Sheik. He also collided with Killer Brooks.

The Wild West was only one location where Brazil was a major hit. He had varied runs with the WWWF/WWF. He made varied trips to Japan. He was a maineventer for decades in the NWA from out of the Detroit  office. His feuds with Dick The Bruiser, Sheik, Brute Bernard and Johnny Valentine were epic.

Bobo eventually retired to his home in Benton Harbor, Michigan and remained there up to his death.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

David's Jump

In the late  1990s, wrestling took a turn toward the extreme and the trend still continues in spite of broken necks, shattered bodies and an occasional death in the ring due to someone attempting a foolish move. Triple somersaults, leaps off the roof, barbwire-covered baseball bats. You name it. In the 1970s, however, such insane things were not so commonplace. For decades in Arizona, the incident sometimes called "David's jump" was the evening most talked about by fans and wrestlers alike. Even in this day and age, it would be difficult to match.

The Phoenix Madison Square Garden was a two tier arena, where the fan favorites dressed in a locker room on the upper level and the bad guys were in a dressing room on the lower floor. The cheaper seats were of course in the balconies, though they also provided a nice overview of action in the ring.

 Chuck Hondo was stomping the hell out of Billy Anderson, with the referee having no control over anything  in the ring any longer. Fans were screaming for someone to intervene, when all of a sudden, there was David Rose, coming in and cleaning house. He seemed to have arrived out of nowhere.

The incident happened so fast those in attendance scarcely believed their eyes. Rather than running down the stairs as most people would have done or leaving from a  seat in the back of the arena after watching the action, Rose did the unthinkable.

Bolting out of the locker room, he did a charge toward the balcony, jumped off it like something from Phantom Of The Opera, landed on the arena floor and hit the ring.

The late Maniac Mike Gordon would often speak of this as one of the greatest moments he had ever seen anywhere in pro wrestling.

"The people were just going crazy over what was going on in the ring and screaming for other wretslers to interfere and stop things. Then all of a sudden, BAM, here's David Rose. He did this wild leap. He came running out of the locker room like he was being chased by the devil, went over the railing and down tot he arena floor, which would have to have been a drop of who knows how many feet, but it was plenty. It was the damnedest thing I had ever seen anywhere. It was spectacular."

And these remarks came not from a fan, but a fellow wrestler.

Lots of things happened over the decades at "The Garden" over  the decades, but David's Jump ranks as one of the most remembered.

The End Of The Terrible Turk

As stated in a much earlier blog, there were varied "Terrible Turks" who appeared in Arizona over the decades and oddly enough, most of them met an unpleasant end. Hessian "Terrible Turk" Muhammad was no exception.

An incredibly tough and powerful wrestler, The Turk was feared by many due to his ability for execution of what he called "shoot or show" performing. In a carnival circuit, he could stage matches as desired and shift the ending to accommodate betting from onlookers, but could also fight for real when desired. More than once, he had left opponents with broken limbs.

In January 28,1929, he was on his way to Phoenix to witness a match between Casey Berger and Pat O' Socker, with the intention of challenging the winner. He never made it. An hour out of his  destination, he was involved in a major car crash and died instantly.

He would not be the first nor sadly the last professional wrestler to be killed in a car crash. Sam Bass, Hercules Cortez, Mars Bennett, Pepe Lopez, Frank Hester, Brute Bernard, Joey Morella (referee), Baron Clements, Moon Dog Mayne and many others would follow in the time to come,  in various parts of the USA. The trend sadly continues still,  with the recent passing of Randy Savage, though speculation has it a fatal heart attack behind the wheel rather than the subsequent crash was what killed him.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sherri Martel

Sherri Martel started training in Memphis before heading for the wrestling school operated by The Fabulous Moolah, where she really learned the score. For several years, she worked under Moolah's booking system, until a major break came for her when she was picked up by Gagne's AWA.

Martel held the Woman's World championship three times and was most known for her wild feud with Candi Divine out of Nashville. She did not, hwoever, make a big splash in Arizona at the time as Gagne's lavish plan to invade Arizona and "show the small timers (Indy crew) how to do it" bombed miserably.

In the WWF, where she likewise held the female crown and doubled as a manager, she achieved worldwide attention. This also brought her into Phoenix on multiple occasions. As a manager for Randy Savage, Shawn Michaels and others at varied intervals, she was likewise seen around the globe, with a number of Tucson and Phoenix stops.

Martel was also seen in the manager capacity in Arizona during her WCW stint as a manager for Harlem  Heat.

Martel could not only wrestle, but had magnfiicent talent on the microphone, which was a talent many women wrestlers from her era lacked. She snarled and laughed as she issued wicked put-downs and warnings about what she or the people she managed wound do to their enemies. She reeked of arrogance. Even when, for whatever reason, the WWF had her decked out in bizarre makeup that made her look like something from the cast of CATS, the fans hated her rather than snickering at her uncanny look.

Martel died in 2007..

Friday, June 10, 2011

Canadian Interlude

When I was in college I would work as a wrestling manager in Arizona from September through Maya nd then head outward for the summer, usually to my native Ohio. In 1984 or so, I also ended up doing some trips to Canada. I had known Luis Martinez when I was a kid in the stands, watching him in action in Arizona, but prior to 1984 had never worked with him. At the time, he and a guy named Scrap-iron Scranton were running small towns outside of Toronto and I will keen to go there for him.

So along wroth a carload of others, we made the trip to Canada, only to find our guarantee was in dollars...but Canadian and not American!

Thus we lost a quarter on every dollar when we converted it to US dollars.

The next trip I decided to beat the system.

I had all my Canadian money converted into Canadian quarters.

I then got some coin rolls, got some $200 in US quarters from a bank and started mixing up the rolls.

I was passing rolls of Canadian/American coins all over Ohio and Arizona for the duration of the summer, but at least  I am the one who didn't get shortchanged a second time.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Masked Cowboy

Arizona wrestling offered several cowboys over the years. Cowboy Mike Cook. Cowboy Bob Ellis, Cowboy Claw. Crazy Cowboy. Cowboy Bob Yuma. Cowboy Carlson. Then there was the infamous Masked Cowboy. While most of the cowboys were good guys, this one was a son of a bitch.

This dreaded Masked Cowboy started making a name for himself in the early 1950s in the Tucson/Phoenix area, where he entered the arena with a hood over his face and a cowboy hat. He sued every dirty trick in the book too, short of using a branding iron or a six gun on his opponent. In no time, he became one of the most hated ring personalities in the area.

The Masked Cowboy seldom lost by pin. If he didn't win himself, he was either disqualified or counted out when he bailed with action getting too hot for him.

Various opponents for The Masked Cowboy included Stan Kasabowski, Cliff Olsen, Chet Hayes, Danny Sachs and Danny Sanchez.

The routine finally ended when he was  beaten and unmasked in Tucson, revealing himself to be one Sammy Duchek under the hood. he then continued to wrestle with his face revealed, under that name. He still sued illegal objects. he still punched and kicked. He still antagonizes the fans and insulted them from ringside. The only difference was with the demise of the controversial cowboy role, he was doing it with his face exposed.

More than once, some wiseguy at ringside shouted for him to put his "cowboy mask" back on, as he looked better that way.

Al Williams Vs. The Fan

On December 20, 1950, Al Williams faced the popular Sam Menacker in a  2.3 fall match at the Sports Arena in Tucson, drawing over 1,000 which at the time was considered a huge house. Things did not go as planned.

With the falls split evenly, the decisive third fall was well underway, with Williams punching and kicking to gain the upper hand. Suddenly, as Menacker reversed the situation and gained the upper hand, the hated  villain slipped through the ropes to catch a breather on the arena floor. Preoccupied with the referee's count, he did not notice an irate fan folding a chair behind him. When he prepared to re-enter the ring, he was caught on the head  by this contraption, which the infuriated spectator swung like a club.

History does not record whatever happened to the fan. He might have been arrested, might have gotten away or might have been evicted, for in the initial moments of what happened, everyone was caught by surprise.

Williams  was the most surprised of all. Not wanting to show himself injured or reflect the fact a mere fan could do such damage to him, even though a makeshift weapon had been used, the badly bleeding grappler climbed back into the ring. He was obviously dazed and in no condition to continue, in spite of the bravado he showed.

A quick thinking referee ruled the match a no contest, as Williams was clearly not able to continue, but felt the victory should not go to Menacker because this turn of events had been caused by an overzealous fan. While this seemed like the most logical thing to do, it caused the rest of the fans to jeer, throw things and come close to rioting. In the process, Williams made it to the locker room and most likely, the hospital.

December 20, 1950 just wasn't his night.

Ann Casey

 Lucille Ann Casey became an important and impressive figure in the world of female wrestling and though the southern states were a base for her, which stood to reason being she came from Alabama, she was seen around the world. Known for leopard-skinned tights, she was a charismatic and confident star who won fans where ever she went. Being trained by Fabulous Moolah left no doubt whatsoever that she knew her stuff in the ring.

There is a ton of material on the overall career of Ann Casey on the net, as well as her rollercoaster life (surprisingly no one ever made a movie about her). She is still in the public eye with her Face book page and via appearances at varied wrestling reunions. No point in rehashing it here.

Casey spent a little bit of time in Arizona, but was never a true mainstay. She made various appearances at the Phoenix Madison Square Garden and other venues where as usual, she was well-received.

One outstanding match was a mixed tag (uncommon in Arizona at the time) was a mixed tag team event where she teamed with Benny Mendeblis to take on Marilyn Bender and Freddie Gomez.

Kit Fox

Chief Kit Fox was born in Oklahoma and trained by Leroy McGuirk. Thoguh saddled with thew typical "Indian Routine" he was, unlike Bearclaws Chewski, Jay Strongbow and the like, a real Native American. The obligatory  tomahawk chop and bow and arrow were key moves in his arsenal, but he knew a variety of fancy holds as well. He also executed a wicked airplane spin.

Fox traveled the USA and proved to be popular  in numerous venues. He also drifted into Arizona at various times, including a lengthy run in 1957-1958.

The 1957 stay saw him reach the height of his popularity in the Phoenix/Tucson area. Among his opponents were Don Arnold, Johnny James, Tokyo Joe, Ali Pasha, Dutch Schultz and El Diablo.

It was with the leering Tokyo Joe that Fox had hsi most wild bouts, which digressed into savage brawls uncharacteristic of the 1950s. World War II was slightly a decade from being over in this time span, with hostilities against the Japanese still burning in the minds of many Americans. Thus, the Oriental was an instant "top heel" and anyone who faced him was "over" with the crowd. Kit Fox was up to the task and hsi popularity skyrocketed whenever he faced the Japanese mad man. The tomahawk chops usually won out over the judo chops.

In other parts of the country over the years, this wrestler had memorable matches with Lou Thesz, The Great Bolo, Killer Kox and many others.

A car crash ended this talented wrestler's career while traveling with Chief Big Heart. He tried to make a comeback, but his injuries were too severe and he was not successful.

Kit Fox died in 1994 during heart surgery.

The Assassins

Every promotion had an "Assassin" at one time or another and many Indy groups still do, but the original pair consisted of two brothers, Joey and Larry Hamilton. The latter preferred working as a single and was replaced by one Tom Renesto, who teamed with Joey for years.

These two Assassins traveled the USA, decked out in their traditional yellow and black masks, with matching body wardrobe. Though the Atlanta area would become established as their main base, they were seen from Seattle to Miami at one point or another throughout the 1960s into the 1970s.

The dastardly duo made various trips in Arizona, usually when traveling between California and Texas. Some of their appearances included main eventing in a makeshift arena converted from a closed supermarket.

The longest stay for the two Assassins came in 1966, where for something different, they actually found themselves being cheered as they faced the equally hated tag team of Gorgeous George Jr and perpetual  Arizona villain, Don Arnold. After the masked men prevailed, it was business as usual, where they disavowed their newly gathered fans, any concept of fighting by the rules and again became heels.

The Assassins then feuded with Ray Gordon and Tito Montez, two of the most popular stars in Arizona at the time. In their early encoutners, the masked men increased the heat with a series of underhanded victories, but in the end the good guys won out. The heels went packing, while peace and harmony ruled...for a time. Other tag teams of equable viciousness were soon to be on their way in.

There would also be a number of other Assassins, though all avoided the patented yellow and black masks, in the decades to come. These "Assassins" also worked suspiciously, as single attractions and never a tag team, perhaps to steer clear of a lawsuit. Ernie Muhammad passed a mask around to varied wrestlers who did the routine on the undercard or televised tapings, where whoever wore the hood usually lost. In 1980, John Ringer was an Assassin for a while, wearing brown gear and a matching mask with an "A" on the front. He only did the routine for a while, before going back to being Ringer and refused to admit to ever wrestling under a hood.

"The Assassin died" Ringer would snarl when asked about the role by fans or writers, denying it was him behind the mask.

  In the 1990s, Asasinos 1,2 & 3 came in for a lucha promotion running near the border that did not last long.

I am sure even now, as an "extra body" is needed on an Indy card, someone will don a mask and become  an Assassin. None, however, will match the originals.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Duncan McTavis

Duncan McTavis died in June of 2011 at the age of 80. I knew of him by reputation and Face Book conversations, which makes writing abotu his passing a bit hard. Though he traveled the world, this man was never the biggest of stars, yet he always did what was required and had numerous classic matches, including some brutal cage bouts with The Sheik in Canada

McTavis  had a very limited Arizona run. Sent to Phoenix by Pedro Martinez out of Buffalo for what was to be the first of many exchanges with Arizona promoter Ernie Muhammad, the newcomer lasted all of two weeks, while shooting the projected trade deal in the ass.

In his second week at the Phoenix Madison Square Garden, McTavis became infuriated when two Hispanic fans threw rolled up cups of ice at him as he was leaving the ring. The wrestler turned in them,  chased both up the aisle, out the door and into the street.While the other grapplers thought the whole scene was hilarious, the promoter did not and gave McTavis his notice. He was never brought back.

Decades after the fact, McTavis was still complaining about  the episode on Face Book groups where he was a member.

The Wrestler & The Cigar

I only smoke one cigarette at MCW shows twice a month and buy an infrequent cigar, which I figure will not kill me as opposed perhaps to those doing two packs a day. Some former smokers in the game, such as Bobby Jaggers, have quit all together. Athletes, after all, aren't supposed to do bad things, but we know how far that goes. The cigar, however, has been a traditional thing with many wrestlers for decades now. As such, I  thought it might make an interesting piece.

I am enclosing a list of the cigar smokers who came through Arizona over the years, now deceased or still living, though of course some may have quit all together. The list is no complete, I am sure. It might make an interesting read. If not, oh well.

Dick Murdoch
Dusty Rhodes
Buddy Rogers
Lou Thesz
Argentina Rocca
Jesse Ventura
Ivan Putski
Bobby Heenan
Mike Gordon
Bobby Jaggers
Chris Colt
Ron Dupree
Johnny Mann
Don Fargo
Ray Sevens
Strangler Lewis  
Sgt, Shultz
Stinky The Garbage Man
Ron Pritchard
Tony Marino
Jerry Graham
Frank Shields
Flama Azul
Toro Bravo 1&2
Bull Montana
Rick Renaldo
Bobo Brazil
Jimmy Valentine
Paul Harvey
Jimmy Kent
Jan Madrid
Killer Brooks
Buddy Dixon
Kangaroo Bob Karson
Farmer Jones
Bobby Davis
The Mighty Jumbo
Eddie Graham
Phil Melby
Rod Fenton
King Milo
El Circulo

Many more went with more economical cigarette smoking. Some living now have quit while others are still at it. A  few died from cancer. The ones who went with cigarettes over cigars included Bambi Ball, Arizona Red, Sadie & Sheri, Eddie Sullivan, John Ringer, David Rose, Kurt Von Steiger, Blackjack Mulligan, Kay Noble, Bob Yuma, Tito Montez, Freddie Gomez, Hercules Stevenson, Rip Tyler, Mrs. Wrestling, Super Dee, Tony Hernandez, Nano Ortega, Barry Bernsten, Mr Murder, Marilyn Bender, CC Starr, Chuck Hondo, The Detroit Mauler, Rick Rude, The Cherokees, Mr. Southern Comfort, Ali Bey, Cerberus
and some others. I know a few years back CC Starr was going as far as to use one of those nicotine patches. I hope it worked for him.

In the other hand, extreme anti-smokers included Fabulous Moolah, Jody Arnold, Lanny Poffo and Chris  Kole. Poffo went as far as to write a kid's book speaking out against smoking a few years back.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

My Story

People have asked why I mention myself so little on this blog page, being I worked Arizona mainly as manager role in 1978, stating right after the Garden closed, until 1998 when we moved to Ohio. Honestly, it is because of boredom. I spent years thanks to my bridging wrestling and writing, with a dandy little arrangement for putting msyelf over in print. As an associate editor to varied magazines, a newspaper writer, contributor to some sheets I deemed less controversial and on the net, I was constantly putting myself over to the point of my technique becoming an inside personal joke by writing about myself under my real name, about myself under my ring name. Ar rimes I even answered my articles under another alias, said I sucked and as my character became "offended" and essentially threatened to kick my own ass. Then I sat back and watched the fans who were not smart to what was going on, say what a dick I was. I was a"literary family" of one under a number of names.

More or less, I have done this for so long I have grown tired of it and would rather give others a spotlight on this blog.

Though born in Ohio, I grew up in Arizona and started in Phoenix in 1979. From 1979 to 1985 I was Mad Dog Marcial Bovee. The name was derived from bullfighter Marcial Lalanda and porn actress Lesllie Bovee. In 1985 after an elaborate series of events too complex to go into here, I became The Time Traveler, which a bot derived from Dr Who or Quantum Leap as some think, but from a line in an obscure horror film called The Keep. "I am a traveler." While I still do traveler in seem places, I am managing under my own name in MCW ( on Ohio, after another series of circumstances too complex to go into.

In the California/Arizona area I worked as a manager for limited deals to long term (12 years with The Lumberjacks) for many people. People I worked with as manager include Bert Prentiss (Christopher Henderson in AZ, in a co-manager role before we turned on each other.),  Billy Graham, Eddie Sullivan, Rip Tyler, David Rose, John Ringer, Maniac Mike Gordon, Sgt. Schultz, Eruption, Rick Davidson, Enigma, The Black Mamba, Section 8, Thrillseeker Terry Zeller, Special Forces, Mr. Cock A Doodle Doo, Tim Patterson, The Beast and many more.

I also wrestled when needed, but never considered myself much of a wrestler. A manager, yes. A wrestler, no. While the role required me to brag like I thought myself the best wretsler since Milo, behind the scenes even I owned up to this saying,. "As a wrestler...I'm a very good manager."

Though I have lived in Ohio for a number do years and have no desire to live in Phoenix again, I do think of the wrestling there.

Many of the people I knew before, during or after starting have died. Eddie Sullivan, Rip Tyler, Barry Bernsten, Mr Murder, Chris Colt, Ron Dupree, Rudy Navarro, Tona Tomah, Victoria Vulcan, Louie Spicolli, Lou Thesz, Stephen De Leon, Tec 9, Mike Gordon and others are gone. The bulk of the people I stayed with and many who started after me are retired. I feel like I am one of the last of my kind.

Memories? Oh, I have them.

Scars? I have them too.

Yet I am still active.

The best may be yet to come. It may even include a return to Arizona some day, but only briefly.  Not to live.

Enough, however, on me.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Ciclon Negro

During the 1960s and 1970s, Ciclon Negro made varied appearances in Arizona, though he was never a regular there like he was in Texas.

One of his greatest matches, though a losing one, came when he faced Dory Funk Sr in a Texas Death match at the Travel Lopsided Theater (later Celebrity Theater) in Phoenix. The match went countless falls as the two men slammed each other with everything in sight. Both ended up bloody and exhausted, but in the end, Funk prevailed. After being pinned for the final time, Ciclon was unable to answer a ten count, stayed down and faced defeat.

In the years to follow, Ciclon returned for varied promoters, to see action  at the large Fairgrounds Coliseum and the Immaculate Heart Gym in Phoenix, as well as varied Tucson venues. In most of these encounters, Ciclon faced another constant Amarillo rival in the form of Ricky Romero. He also continued his feud with the Funks by facing Dory Funk Jr in a number of matches.

While Ciclon Negro received a major push in Texas and built up an alarming number of wins, he was not so lucky in Arizona. In this state, he usually ended up losing or going to a  draw with the people he faced. Though he didn't get his hands raised often, the fans still hated him with a  passion.

Eddie Sullivan vs The Tornado

Eddie Sullivan wrestled a load of respected people in his long career. Tommy Rich, The Medics, Terry Funk, Like Graham, Chris Colt, Cowboy Bob Kelly, Cowboy Bob Ellis, Giant Baba, Rocky Johnson, Len Rossi, Jerry Lawler, Tito Montez, Ripper Collins, Jody Arnold, Jerry Graham, Bearcat Brown, Jackie Fargo, Plow Boy Frazier,  Don Fargo...

His toughest opponent, however, would understandably have been a tornado.

Sullivan would tell the story, but somehow manage to downplay his own heroics within. The fact of the matter was he saved many lives single-handed.

When he was away from his Arizona base, wrestling in Pensacola, Florida, a tornado truck and included the trailer court where he was living within its path. Rather than ducking for cover, Sullivan left his own safety behind and started pulling people from the rubble of other demolished dwellings, including a little girl.

"The wind was still so strong it actually lifted and twirled me over like I was a pinwheel," Sullivan recalled. He also admitted he should have been afraid as that would have been common sense, but was acting on the   pure passion of the moment, upon seeing others in danger.

The incident would have made a good film, In fact, the life of Eddie Sullivan would make a good film in its own right.

"I faced Terry Funk for the NWA World Title in Mobile, Alabama," was usually Eddie's answer when asked about his toughest opponent.

On the other hand, I would contend Eddie's toughest or certainly most dangerous  opponent would have been that twister in Pensacola. Where he did not win that night in Mobile he was always talking  about against Funk, he certainly prevailed against Mother Nature in his Floridian adventure.